Measuring the level of consciousness

In today’s article I am going to write about measuring the level of consciousness of a person. The method used is called The Glasgow Coma Scale. The Glasgow Coma Scale (a.k.a. GCS) is a measurement of a patients level of consciousness.


Although it was initially used just for individuals who had suffered head injuries, it is now used by doctors and EMTs for all acute medical and trauma patients and is also used in chronic patients in intensive care units.


The Glasgow Coma Scale contains three measurements: Eyes, Verbal and Motor. Each measurement is assigned a score and the GCS is the total of the three scores combined. The minimum GCS score is 3, which is completely unconscious, and the maximum is 15 which is fully alert.


The individual components of the Glasgow Coma Scale and how the individual measurements are scored are as follows;


Observation: Eyes.


  • Open spontaneously                     Score: 4
  • Open to speech                              Score: 3
  • Open to painful stimulus             Score: 2
  • No response (no eye opening)    Score: 1


Observation: Verbal.


  • Responds sensibly                    Score: 5
  • Confused                                     Score: 4
  • Inappropriate words                Score: 3
  • Incomprehensible sounds      Score: 2
  • No response (silent)                 Score: 1


Observation: Motor.


  • Obeys commands                                                                       Score: 6
  • Points (localizes) to pain                                                          Score: 5
  • Withdraws from pain                                                                Score: 4
  • Bends limbs in response to pain (flexion)                           Score: 3
  • Straighten limbs in response to pain (extension)             Score: 2
  • No response                                                                                Score: 1



A GCS of less than 8 is generally considered a serious medical emergency due to problems with the airway. Patients who have a GCS less than 8 are unlikely to be able to protect their airway and are at risk of hypoxia.

It’s important to remember that GCS scores can fluctuate minute-by-minute, especially in critical patients.

However, like everything, The Glasgow Coma Scale isn’t perfect. Various factors such as alcohol & drugs can distort a casualties true level of consciousness, especially in a head injury situation.


This can be especially useful thing to know for people whose jobs entail the danger of dealing with head injuries or any other injuries that cause shock and loss of consciousness. Not to mention it’s important information for Martial Arts instructors, Self Protection Instructors and Fitness Coaches as well.
So, I hope you found this information useful. Like and Share if you did. That’s it.

Thank you for reading.

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